Thy sons are in the lowest scale of being,
Slaves turn'd o'er to the vanquish'd by the
victors, 771 Despised by cowards for greater cowardice,
And scorn'd even by the vicious for such vices
As in the monstrous grasp of their conception
Defy all codes to image or to name them;
Then, when of Cyprus, now thy subject kingdom,
All thine inheritance shall be her shame
Entail'd on thy less virtuous daughters, grown
A wider proverb for worse prostitution; --
When all the ills of conquer'd states shall
cling thee, 780 Vice without splendour, sin without relief
Even from the gloss of love to smooth it o'er,
But in its stead, coarse lusts of habitude,
Prurient yet passionless, cold studied lewd-ness,
Depraving nature's frailty to an art; --
When these and more are heavy on thee, when
Smiles without mirth, and pastimes without pleasure,
Youth without honour, age without respect,
Meanness and weakness, and a sense of woe
'Gainst which thou wilt not strive, and
dar'st not murmur, 790 Have made thee last and worst of peopled deserts,
Then, in the last gasp of thine agony,
Amidst thy many murders, think of mine!
'Thou den of drunkards with the blood of princes!
Gehenna of the waters! thou sea Sodom!
Thus I devote thee to the infernal gods!
Thee and thy serpent seed!
[Here the Dooz turns, and addresses the Executioner.
Slave, do thine office!
Strike as I struck the foe! Strike as I would
Have struck those tyrants! Strike deep as my curse!
Strike -- and but once 800 [The DOGE throws himself upon his knees, and as the
Executioner raises his sword the scene closes.
The Piazza and Piazzetta of Saint Mark's. -- The People in crowds gathered round the grated gates of the Ducal Palace, which are shut.
First Citizen. I have gain'd the gate, and
can discern the Ten,
Robed in their gowns of state, ranged round. the Doge.
Second Cit. I cannot -- reach thee with mine utmost effort.
How is it ? let us hear at least, since sight
Is thus prohibited unto the people,
Except the occupiers of those bars.
First Cit. One has approach'd the Doge,
and now they strip
The ducal bonnet from his head -- and now
He raises his keen eyes to Heaven; I see
Them glitter, and his lips move -- Hush!
hush -- no, 810 'T was but a murmur -- Curse upon the dis-tance!
His words are inarticulate, but the voice
Swells up like mutter'd thunder; would we could
But gather a sole sentence!
Second Cit. Hush! we perhaps may catch the sound.
First Cit. 'T is vain,
I cannot hear him. -- How his hoary hair
Streams on the wind like foam upon the wave!
Now -- now -- he kneels -- and now they form a circle
Round him, and all is hidden -- but I see
The lifted sword in air -- Ah! hark! it falls! [The People murmur.
Third Cit. Then they have murder'd him
who would have freed us. 821 Fourth Cit. He was a kind man to the commons ever.
Fifth Cit. Wisely they did to keep their
Would we had known the work they were preparing
Ere we were summond here -- we would have brought
Weapons, and forced them!
Sixth Cit. Are you sure he's dead? First Cit. I saw the sword fall -- Lo! what have we here?
Enter on the Balcony of the Palace which fronts Saint
Mark's Place a CHIEF OF THE TEN, with a bloody
sword. He waves it thrice before the People, and
'Justice hath dealt upon the mighty Traitor!'
[The gates are opened; the populace rush in towards
the 'Giants' Staircase,' where the execution has taken
place. The foremost of them exclaims to those be-hind,
The gory head rolls down the Giants' Steps! [The curtain falls.